Unofficial results showed voters in the towns in School Administrative District 49 on Tuesday approved their proposed $26.5 annual budget.

The budget represents a 1.25 percent increase, or about $377,000, over the previous operating budget of $26.2 million.

The budget was set at a districtwide meeting. It originally was proposed by Superintendent of Schools Dean Bakers as an increase of 6.5 percent, but that number eventually was slashed by the school board’s finance committee.

SAD 49 is composed of four towns — Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield. The budget passed easily in each of those four towns. The final vote was 1,687-802. In Fairfield, voters approved it 665-299. In Clinton, the vote was 401 in favor and 206 opposed. In Benton, voters approved the budget 370-177. In Albion, voters approved it 251-120.

In cutting the initial proposal, the finance committee was directed to delete five teaching positions, as the student population has shrunk by 75 students.

Baker previously said the budget was “close to being flat” and will result in an overall tax decrease in two of the towns in the school district — Albion and Fairfield — and a tax increase in Benton and Clinton.

Board members have stated a number of factors were driving the budget, including anticipated increases to salaries of over $500,000, increases to health insurance of over $500,000 and increases to special education of $550,000.

Some of the larger line items in the budget include more than $10 million for regular instruction, more than $4 million for special education, more than $4 million for facilities maintenance, roughly $1.6 million for transportation, and nearly $1.5 million for school administration.

The committee was able to reduce costs in other places by deferring maintenance projects such as roofing and window replacement and eliminating the purchase of some new technology items. Additional state subsidies that the district received over the summer were put toward reducing the tax commitments in the supporting towns and about $200,000 was put into an unassigned fund balance.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

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Twitter: @colinoellis